A local farmer, with a basket of potatoes in
hands, has a talk with President Hu Jintao in Dingxi,
northwest China's Gansu Province, February 17, 2007. [Xinhua]
LANZHOU -- Chinese President Hu Jintao marked the eve of the Year of Boar by
frying dough twists, eating dumplings and cutting paper window decorations with
poor farmers in the barren countryside of northwestern Gansu Province.
On early Saturday, buses carrying Hu and accompanying officials rocked along
the bumpy mountain roads to Daping village of Dingxi city in Gansu, where Hu
once visited in 1999 and ordered local officials to work hard on poverty
"Dear villagers, I come to greet you a happy new year," Hu said, addressing a
crowd of farmers in front of a village house. "I visited Daping eight years ago.
Today, I am very pleased to see lots of changes. New houses are erected and
plenty of food is stored, which shows the lives of the Daping people have really
In a villager's home, Hu sat with farmers and children, asking about grain
production and the family income.
One of the farmers gave the president a full basket of potatoes, telling him
that, like many others, his life had improved by planting potatoes.
The lunar new year of 2007, which starts on February 18, is also the Year of
Boar. To most Chinese, the pig is considered a symbol of wealth and good
But fortune comes slowly for farmers in barren Gansu. Last year, the income
of each farmer in this northwestern province was estimated at only 2,100 yuan
(US$296), far below the 3,587 yuan of national average for the farming
Hu has spent the previous three Lunar New Year eves visiting poor residents
in the countryside. Last year, he fried rice cakes, drank home-made wine and
danced with local villagers in rural Yan'an of Shaanxi Province, also in